The publicist's materials accompanying this release characterize newcomer Lady Millea as something "akin to 'Sarah Vaughn meets Karen Carpenter.'" Ok. For the record, Lady Millea was indeed a pleasant surprise, if not exactly a revelation on that level. She sings a selection of originals by J. Frederick Millea, aka "L.A.Cowboy." She brings very much in mind the singers you could expect to hear at a club like The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, PA in the 1960s and 1970s. Since the then-obscure talent appearing there included people like Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Kate Taylor and a host of local talent from the Philadelphia area, this is a distinct compliment.
Some of the material, like "Hold Me," needs to disappear, at least by the usual criteria by which singers are evaluated, but that is just one song. Otherwise, she has a lovely voice, warm and if not exactly jazzy. Tunes like "The Museum," and "I Don't Mind Missing You" are done expressively and keep you engaged. On "My Heart Sings," she shows a little more range and less just so melodrama than on other tracks, and a sympathetic band both supports and complements her. They make her singing better without obscuring or overpowering it. Very difficult not to like. Or want to hear more of.
An awful lot of surprisingly good singers, especially women, are one-and-done. Then an obscure critic wonders years later whatever became of them? It would be real shame if Ms. Millea's inaugural effort isn't followed up by others, including, Heaven forbid, just a couple of covers that provide some basis for comparison of her talent with others. That is what the Great American Songbook is for: let people have a chance to hear you blow on something where their expectations may already be set. That is not ancestor-worship. It is only common sense for a young singer trying to make a name for herself. You have to take some chances.
So, as they say, a CD "with replay value." Perhaps this evening, with a nice red.
I Don't Mind Missing You; Almost; Slow Healing; Play On; The Museum; You and I; My Heart Sings; Hold Me;
Why Do I?